There is a gentleman with an accent, Haitian maybe, who wipes down the elevator chrome. He polishes the outer button panel, carefully burnishing the plate and each individual button, then rides the elevator to each floor, opening in turn to gleam the door frames, and caring for the interior space as the box moves up and down and up. I think we have 30 elevators.
He is not casual with his work. He moves carefully and purposefully. He is attentive.
Each time he sees me he offers three salutations in turn:
"How are you?"
"Have a good evening."
"Have a blessed evening."
He laughs at each punctuation in his ritual. He waves his yellow chamois as I turn past his elevator. Sometimes I call an elevator so I may descend and I know he'll be in it, polishing, before the doors open. The lemony scent of his polish precedes him and trails him.
At the end of the day when the building is quiet and I'm in a space between work-think and mom-think I have an eight-minute walk to my car, blanketed by a smile and a benediction.